Let's not get the water too muddy here!
Of course, the lineage thing can get messy going back. Let's not even get into that here. Paul Lynch says he has transmission. He himself emphasizes the importance of it over and over in passages like this:
The Five Mountain Order of Zen is formed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining public worship and teachings in accordance with the principles and doctrines of the Zen Buddhist Faith through a lineage of Masters, culminating in the teaching of Rev. Yuánzhì Dàoqīng Chánshī, and thereafter through the teachings of Masters and Teachers appointed by him. The Five Mountain Sangha is an American Zen Organization in the Korean Sŏn lineage of Zen Master Seung Sahn.
Never mind I find his entire tone inflated and somewhat ghastly. He is setting up the rules of his own game. Those rules are fundamentally based in clear and unmitigated lineage-connection, of which he is "the culmination"
Anyone can say the right "Zen-y" words. But as someone else said, if he's lying out of the gate, why would you entrust yourself to him or his guidance? Anyone can give advice. But I personally won't go to someone who says "I am an authority; look at all my shiny credentials!" but when those credentials are inspected, they aren't true. That
is the point.
What I am saying in addition is that there is a pattern. He said he was a student of James Ford (again, in a greatly inflated manner, usually for years listing Fords teachers for no other reason than to pad his resume - he had no contact with Aitken or Tarrant). James Ford says he wasn't a student at all. he says he has transmission in a hundred places - but apparently he doesn't. He says "inka" is transmission in the Korean tradition - but it patently isn't. He split with his teacher Jibong acrimoniously, immediately started his own order, ordained a bunch of people (I say under false pretenses), and many of those (headed by the equally controversial Jiun Foster) have left Lynch, started THEIR own order, and are declaring themselves Zen masters now too. It's easy to say, "Whatever. Anyone can do what they want." That's fine for you - but what about the people who don't know any better, and get swept up in the "glamor" of connecting with Seung Sahn and Ancestral Zen Buddhism? You can likewise say "well, that's their fault for getting suckered; that's their business." But I think it is a real issue for Zen across America - can anyone just say anything they want and call themselves zen masters? I think we should call people out when necessary, and maybe head of worse abuses than simply lying before they start.
Lynch also mysteriously adopted an unpronounceable Chinese Dharma name, and calls himself Chanshi, or chan master. C'han is a different tradition. it is the forbear of Zen and Son, but is its own tradition at this point, with different methods, styles, practices. All of these things have their own integrity - they are all related, but you can't just go mixing and matching willy nilly - especially when to my eyes I think Lynch does it under the delusion of inflation, and a wish to convince people he is more qualified than he is - he wants to be the Great Zen Master! He studied with great Japanese Zen Masters, and sometimes has referred to himself as 'sensei' (despite no authorization, and no real study, in any Japanese tradition.) he has an impressive Chinese name! he uses Korean robes, Chinese kasa, and Japanese rakusu! How eclectic!
I actually think it all stinks to high heaven, almost every element of this guys MO.